Large parts of central London to become car-free

Shaftesbury Avenue in London. Image courtesy of Kaustav Bhattacharya

Today’s Guardian reports on London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s announcement that large parts of central London are to be permanently closed to cars. The measure is designed to facilitate social distancing by walkers and cyclists. All the main streets between London Bridge and Shoreditch, Euston and Waterloo, and Old Street and Holborn will become accessible solely by buses, pedestrians and cyclists. Work on the road closures will begin immediately and should be complete within six weeks.

Many other cities around the world have already announced plans to improve walking and cycling in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, but none of these plans are as ambitious as London’s. The measures announced by the mayor have had an enthusiastic response from environmental groups. Doug Parr from Greenpeace commented, “Not only will transforming our streets in a way that prioritises pedestrians and cyclists, and makes it safer for people to move about as lockdown restrictions are eased, but by permanently restricting car use we can keep toxic pollution from filling our air once again.”

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